National Newswatch

TORONTO - Canadians are being warned to expect wild swings in the weather this winter, giving each month of the season its own "distinct personality."

The Weather Network is forecasting periods of intense storms that could leave Canadians thinking they're heading for one of the nastiest winters in a while, followed by spells of relatively tranquil weather.

"A lot of ups and downs — that's the real headline for the next three months," said senior meteorologist Chris Scott.

"We think that like how much of November has gone with these wild swings in temperature, from mild to cold to mild again, that we'll keep that trend," he said.

Scott said the predicted twists and turns will stem from there being no El Nino or La Nina in the tropical Pacific to send "strong signals" and drive North American weather patterns.

"This year we don't have either. We have what we affectionately dub 'La Nada' — which is 'the nothing.'"

"That's a big part of our reasoning why there's going to be a lot of extremes and how each month of the winter may have a very distinct personality — because of a fight that's going on between the milder air from the south and the classic cold arctic air from the north," he added.

The country is likely heading into a "highly variable and changeable winter," Scott said.

The Atlantic region will be "fairly stormy" but is on track for fewer Nor'easters than usual, with temperatures and snowfall at or near normal levels, Scott said in his forecast.

He predicts Ontario and Quebec will also see temperatures balance out at close to normal levels, but the next three months will be marked by a "see-saw" of Arctic air and more moderate temperatures, as have been seen in recent weeks.

And he said that while the Prairies have gotten a "quick start" to winter with recent storms, over the course of the season conditions will see temperatures in line with the norm, while conditions in the North will also skew close to normal.

The "La Nada" weather pattern should leave much of British Columbia at or below its usual levels of precipitation, Scott said.

"As a result we don't think there'll be quite as many 'Pineapple Expresses' that come through. We'll still get our share of rain but we may not see quite as much as we usually do."

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